For many vacationers, Acapulco means sun and fun. For one major cruise line, it means the potential for violence and mayhem from Mexico’s spreading drug wars. And while travelers seem mostly oblivious to the danger, the cruise company is acting on its concerns.
Holland America Line has eliminated Acapulco from eight cruise itineraries during 2017 and 2018. Citing “recent security concerns,” a terse Holland America statement closed with an assurance: “At Holland America Line the safety of our guests is our top priority.” No specific incidents were mentioned.
Safety does appear to be a valid concern. Mexico was listed among the 10 most dangerous countries in a just-released data.world study. And a recent Guardian story described Acapulco as “Mexico’s most violent city,” noting that 461 people were killed during the first half of 2016. Nevertheless, the report quotes the city’s mayor as remaining staunchly bullish on Acapulco’s tourism prospects. “My government is working to stop crime. I’ll keep working. Acapulco is a city with complications –- it has to be accepted. But today we’re at over 90% hotel occupancy. People love Acapulco.”
Indeed, the violence thus far seems to have had little effect on travelers’ appetite for Acapulco. The industry trade publication Travel Agent reports that Acapulco will host 28 cruise ships in 2017, up from 18 in 2016.
Those cruise and hotel numbers are unlikely to prove sustainable. If the violence continues — and more importantly, as awareness of the violence expands — Acapulco’s popularity as a leisure travel destination will diminish. As it should.
Reader Reality Check
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
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